Your Daily NEL: New English Library

Cheap and Nasty Seventies Horror Pulp

Richard Allen – Boot Boys

Posted by demonik on May 31, 2009

Richard Allen [James Moffat] – Boot Boys (New English Library, 1971)

Boot Boys!

Boot Boys!

Blurb:

Tom grinned, bringing his fist down with a chopping motion on the back of the United fan’s neck. He felt the blow jar his muscles. He kicked as the man slumped.

Then the boot went in – hard. Muffled moans lost themselves in the frantic chanting from the terraces.

“Boot Boys! Boot Boys!”

I know! I know! An ugly Richard Allen agro novel was not what you were hoping to find when you typed ‘black magic, horror, paperback’ into your search engine, and i’d be a mug to suggest this is another The Devil Rides Out, but  – bear with me.

Only 110 pages and still it requires considerable fortitude on the part of the reader to see this one through. The casual racism of these books is pretty damned hard to read around, and the gang-rape of a Jewish woman – made all the more appalling by having her confess her guilty enjoyment of same to a crusading journalist – doesn’t make this an easy book to like.

Anyway, the first seventy-five pages are devoted to the misadventures of The Crackers, a teeny gang from privileged backgrounds who follow Arsenal F. C. When they’re not bashing men and molesting women, the gang devote their free time to drinking Haig in their clubhouse and a variety of pubs on Hampstead Heath (The Spaniards, Jack Straw’s Castle and The Bull & Bush get a namecheck. We even learn that Tom smokes Consulate).

And then …. it takes a turn for the weird.

There’s a power-struggle going on between head Cracker, Tom Walsh, and his would-be usurper, Benjy, and their attempts to sort out who’s the hardest become increasingly desperate. Just as things are getting a bit monotonous, Tom remembers that he’s been interested in Aleister Crowley for years and decides that Black Magic is the answer to all the Crackers’ problems, otherwise they’re just a bunch of skinheads with hair. So Tom has his friends invade the local cemetery – yes, Highgate, our old friend from Tales From The Crypt and many a ‘seventies horror movie – where they disinter a corpse, orgy in the grave, desecrate the church and chant weird spells.

Admittedly, this comes too late in the book for the author to do anything with it as, next thing you know, it transpires that Tom’s brain has short-circuited due to excessive violence and Boot Boy is abruptly terminated before you can say ‘nervous breakdown’.

This brief foray into the world of Satanism evidently gave Moffat a taste for the subject as he would soon knock off a pair of quite astonishing horror novels under the chilling nom de plume ‘Etienne Aubin’ …..

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